To the Student
C'EST À TOI! (It's your turn!), as your book's title suggests, invites you to express yourself in French by interacting with your classmates. Either in pairs or in small groups, you'll be taking right away about subjects that interest both you and French-speaking teens: music, sports, leisure activities, food, etc. Don't hesitate to practice your French every chance you get both during and outside of class. You will make mistakes, but your ability to speak French and your confidence will improve with continued practice.
Bienvenue au monde francophone! (Welcome to the French-speaking world!) You are beginning an exciting journey of discovery. You will not only visit many of the countries where people speak French every day, but you will also learn how to communicate and interact with them. In addition, as you are exposed to new ways of thinking and living in other cultures, your horizons will widen to include only open the door to the French-speaking world, it will give you a knowledge, insight and appreciation of French culture. Language and culture go hand in hand, and together they reflect the spirit of the francophone world. An appreciation of French culture helps you understand what we have in common with French speakers and how we differ. And learning about an important world culture and its language will help you appreciate your own culture and language even more.
People speak French well beyond the borders of France itself. More than 150 million people are native French speakers. On our continent, French speakers live in places like Louisiana, New England and Quebec. Besides in Europe, people also speak French in Africa and Asia, as well as in the Caribbean. Obviously, these diverse French speakers come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Communicating with them will help you understand their way of life and give you a more global perspective. During your lifetime, you will hopefully be able to use your French as you visit at least one of these lands. But even if your travels abroad are limited to "living the language" in your classroom, you will be exposed to a new way of viewing the world.
Internationally, French is one of the primary languages, and people who speak and understand it are an asset in the world of work. Knowing French can expand your career options in areas such as international trade or law, investment, government service, technology and manufacturing. Multinational companies hire hundreds of thousands of Americans who have proficiency in at least one world language. Just knowing French will not assure you of the job you want, but, combined with another specialization, it will increase your employment opportunities. French may be the key that gives you the competitive edge in the global marketplace. Whatever your reasons for learning French, bon voyage as you begin to discover the culture and language of the French-speaking world, and bonne chance (good luck)!